Dear Doug,

I’ll say I remember, until I learn how to live with forgetting.

I’m not sure which is worse off.

A body controlled by a mind that refuses to remember what has happened. 

Or a mind trapped inside of a body that refuses to forget.

And somehow- I am the sufferer of both.

So I keep saying that I’ve remembered, in attempt to convince my body to stop reminding me.


So I remember.

I know that it happened, and I fill in the gaps.

So I remember you, Doug.

I know what you did.


I’m angry, Doug.

I’m angry with you.

And with the pieces that you left behind.

And I’m angry that I’ve been angry with all the pieces and when I got closer, I found out they are mine.

I’m angry that none of the pieces left behind were part of you.

I’m angry that you’re unscathed.

I’m angry that for the last 16 years I wasn’t angry.

I’m angry that you think you got away with it.

I’m angry that you did.


And I’m sad.

I’m sad about the years of melancholy I’ve observed.

I’m grieved over the loss of my childhood.

The loss of my innocence.

The loss of my safety.

And sense of self.

I am weighed down by all the wreckage that has followed you.

By all the pieces of me it has chipped off.

Sometimes I am so sad I cannot move.

Can’t breathe.

So overwhelmed by the loss of it all,

That it is just easier to be angry.


And when I am not angry.

And I can breathe.

The air still stinks a little bit like you.

Like a threat always in the peripheral.

Even on the days you are the lightest,

You are still the nuisance of a sack of bricks on my back.

I carry you every single day.


And the people I love have carried you too.

The things around me have carried you too.

None have felt your weight like I do,

But they have felt you.

He felt you when he picked me off the bathroom floor sobbing.

My doctor saw you when my pulse would try to double anytime I was to remove clothing.

My piano bench strains under our weight.

And each key has carried you since I can recall.

The ones I love have pulled my head back above water when the panic of your weight has threatened to drown me.

The scale in my mom’s bathroom has weighed you a thousand times, sometimes ten a day.

My toilet has flushed you down with the meal I ate five minutes before.

My shower has washed your fingerprints off my skin for hours when I suddenly decide that I am still not clean.

And I realize I don’t feel clean right now.

And I realize that I don’t remember the last time I did.

And that I’m not certain I ever have.


And those who have not felt your weight have seen it.

There are footprints in the sand that are a little too deep for my frame.

Footprints that are too deep for me to have made alone.

Boys that meant no harm, but have made you twice as heavy.

Boys that took the sight of me carrying you as permission to jump on my back as well.

Girls that listen to me apologize for putting the weight of us all on them.

Girls that are confused why I apologize.

Girls that say they’ve never carried me.

And yet I still feel like a burden.

I still feel like a sack of bricks on their back.

I feel like you, Doug.


Because somebody has to be a bag of bricks.

And somebody has to carry it.

Isn’t that what you taught me, Doug?

Isn’t that the lesson I was meant to learn?

Some people are meant to use, and others to be used.

I learned it.

I learned it so well that it has been 16 years and I can’t unlearn it.

And I cannot breathe.


So here I am.

21 and all grown up.

But you and I both know that I’ve been grown for a while now.

You sobered me out of my childhood at five.

And you’ve been on my back since.

So what am I to do?

Because I’ve learned being angry with you doesn’t get you off of me.

And neither does crying your weight in my own tears.

I have been shaving pieces off of myself to make up for the pounds you add.

But there is not enough left of me that I can give up to compensate for you.

And I can pretend you’re not there.

But my bones still groan.

And it’s become clear to me that I cannot carry you anymore.

I am not meant to anymore.

But I can’t get you off my back.

And I have decided that I want to let you go.

I don’t want you here anymore, even though it’s all I’ve known.

I decided I wanted to take my power back.

But it doesn’t get you off mine.


So all I keep doing is shouting into the void that I remember.


Pretending that I can recall the day that you climbed on.

Saying through clenched teeth that I am certain it was you, Doug.

As if shouting into a void could convince it to believe me.

As if shouting into a void could convince me to believe it.


As if remembering the day you climbed on my back could keep you from doing it.

As if it could give me any of the pieces back.

And make them look less like me.

And more like you.


Am I supposed to tell myself that it is alright?

That I am strong enough to carry you now?

Because I don’t want to.

I am tired.

I am sick of you, Doug.


So I’ll keep saying I remember, until I learn how to live with forgetting.

Or until I find the magic words,

Or memories,

Or combination of whatever to appease whatever it is that will get you down.

Or until I trick my body into believing me,

Because I need it to stop reminding me every day that,

You are still here,

And the pain is still mine,

And that in a lot of ways,

I am still yours.

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